Black Man Shot by Police in Wisconsin, Protests Follow

Jacob Blake, a 29-year-old Black man was shot in the back by the Wisconsin police in the city of Kenosha. The incident happened on Sunday, while he was walking towards his car and was shot several times in the back. His three young sons witnessed the shooting from the car and were screaming after seeing their father being shot. Video footage of the shooting was shared on social media, which was taken from across the street, it shows the father-of-three leaning into the car. An officer is seen grabbing his shirt after which seven shots were heard. It is unclear what had happened before the video recording begun. He survived the shooting and had a surgery. His father had told the newspapers that his son is paralyzed but the doctors do not know whether its permanent.

At night, groups of protesters defying a dusk-to-dawn curfew gathered outside the courthouse. They confronted law enforcement officers in riot gear outside the county courthouse which was blocks away from where Jacob Blake was shot. They were shouting and tossing water bottles after which they were responded with tear gas and pepper balls.

Despite the curfew, demonstrations erupted on Sunday night, which lead the authorities to close public buildings. Governor Tony Evers have ordered National Guard troops to be deployed in the city to maintain order. He has condemned the incident and “the excessive use of force” and called for a special legislative session next week in order to reconsider police reforms. Protestors marched on the streets from Monday night into Tuesday morning. Many commercial and government buildings and vehicles were set ablaze. The disturbances and protests had slowed down by early morning. According to a protestor, the police used tear gas, rubber bullets and smoke bombs to disperse the crowd. Protestors were marching peacefully but a small group suddenly got violent and started setting fires and breaking glass. The instigators who were seen were reported to be white. After the demonstrations ended, the police and demonstrators had worked together to clean the debris.

The incident occurred three months after the death of George Floyd on May 25. The Black man was pinned to the street under the knee of a white police officer in Minneapolis. The incident sparked protests, against police brutality and racism within the U.S. criminal justice system, across the country and abroad.

Black Lives Matter activists have demanded the arrest of the officers involved in it. Attorney Crump, who also has also represented Floyd’s family, said in a statement, “Blake had been trying to de-escalate a domestic incident when the officers first shot him with a stun gun. As he was walking away to check on his children, police fired their weapons several times into his back at point-blank range.”

Sunday’s shooting had been termed a “domestic incident’ which the police responded to. According to a police statement, they had immediately taken him to the hospital. Authorities have given no further explanation of the details of the incident or what had led to the shooting. The officers who were involved in the shooting have been placed on administrative leave. The Wisconsin Department of Justice said on Monday that the investigation is underway.